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Terminate that chill and warm up with comforting tomato soup!

Bowl of Tomato SoupServed steaming hot in an over-sized mug, with a toasty brown grilled-cheese sandwich, tomato soup takes us back to those childhood days when this cool weather treat seemed really special. Comforting and warming all the way to the tummy, most of us probably had the canned soup most often. But, I still fondly recall the aromas coming from my great-grandmother’s kitchen during canning season when she was “putting up” tomatoes while making tomato soup from scratch. And, there is no tastier way to terminate a chill than that bowl or mug of tomato soup! Today, making homemade tomato soup is simple. Open a couple cans or jars of tomatoes, sauté some aromatic vegetables, and blend it all together. That’s it!

Selecting Tomatoes

Chilies and TomatoesWhile ripe fall tomatoes can make a delicious end of season tomato soup, when it comes to the classic flavor we remember, canned tomatoes are best. They provide a consistent flavor because they are picked, processed, and canned at the peak of perfection. We have found that crushed tomatoes have the preferred balance of acidity and flavor for soup, and they don’t have to spend a lot of time in the blender or food processor to break down. They have a texture between firm diced tomatoes and smooth tomato sauce, and they provide a fresh, full, flavor that is great for pasta sauces and smoother soups.

Home Canned Crushed Tomatoes

Crushed Tomatoes

We also use a small amount of tomato paste in our soups. Tomato paste comes in small cans, usually six ounces each, and also in 4.5 ounce tubes, and they are the most cooked down of all the canned tomato products with eighty per cent (80%) of the water content removed. The paste has a very concentrated flavor and a much darker color.

While the amount of paste in most recipes is small, compared to the crushed tomatoes, you really can’t develop that deep, rich, flavor we all love in tomato soup without it. Keep both canned tomatoes and tomato paste on hand for tomato soup anytime, and you’ll also discover many other uses for them.

Blending and processing hot tomato soup can be messy and even dangerous. See our tips on how to be safe while completing this essential task.

Creamy Tomato Bisque
Creamy Tomato Bisque One of our favorite soups is a steaming mug of tomato “bisque,” by definition a creamy, highly seasoned soup of French origin. It is classically based on a strained broth of crustaceans or shellfish, but it can also be made from roasted and puréed fruits, vegetables, or fungi. Our bisque uses fire roasted tomatoes, heavy cream and a sprinkle of Parmesan to develop an earthiness and silkiness. Get the recipe here.

Tomato Soup with Parmesan Cheese
Tomato Soup with ParmesanHere is another of our tomato soup recipes that has you do the puree while the product is still cool. I have found this to be much easier to handle than trying to pulse the hot soup in a blender or food processor. This recipe incorporates orange juice, a natural pairing with tomato, maple syrup for a touch of sweetness in the background, and cilantro for a fresh citrus note. This one, like the bisque, we finish with a sprinkle of grated Parmesan cheese. The recipe is on our soup page, here.

Tomato Vegetable Soup
Tomato Vegetable SoupOur tomato vegetable soup is a recipe we developed in the church kitchen while cooking large batches for fellowship dinners. This is a comforting and filling soup with just a hint of citrus from orange juice. We use homemade Emeril’s Essence in this version to take it just slightly to the cajun side where it blends so well with the mixed vegetables. Find the recipe here.

Rich and flavorful tomato soups are winter warmer-upper favorites that are chock full of vitamin C, and a great way to get the antibiotic effect of the onions and garlic. If you’re fighting a winter cold or flu, you can also whip up a delicious dairy-free version to keep the mucus factor down. It will still be delicious and give you a welcome boost. Tomato soup; the winter chill terminator!

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Harvesting apples in the fall is such a rewarding undertaking! We, and our friends and extended families, always looked forward to the apple harvesting season. We would drive out to one or more of the local orchards where we could gather all we wanted of the various varieties of apples. Apple Cider PressWe like to press a blend of apples to make apple cider, applesauce, and apple butter, each of which requires a crafty blending of a variety of types of apples. We also would make up a couple dozen pie shells using Lea’s pie dough recipe. We then peeled and sliced apples, arranged some in pie shells, others in freezer bags, seasoned them up, and wrapped them tightly for storage in the freezer for later use.

Sliced Johnathan and Granny Smith ApplesApples are such a versatile fruit they can be used as stand alone snacks, of course, and also used to make sauces, glazes, side dishes and desserts. They are canned, pressed to produce apple juice, baked, fried, sauteed, braised, and all the other techniques. Raw or cooked, apples are glorious. We have a few favorite apple items that come to mind when the cooler weather arrives.

Cinnamon Apple Tortilla Roll Ups, Apple Stuffed Pork Chops, Apple-Ginger Thick Cut Pork Chops, Apple Dump Cake,Apple Pie with Rum Raisin Sauce and one last mention of the slice of hot apple pie with Rum Raisin Sauce. If you don’t care for the rum, here’s a version of Raisin Sauce you might like better.

For all of these reasons, we are real fans of the glorious apple. Oh, and if you’ve never tried it, one of the great variations on apple pie is melting a slice of cheddar cheese on top and then drizzling with a cinnamon sauce. I first ran across this delectable treat decades ago when I was an announcer at a local radio station, and the pharmacy across the street still had a lunch counter where they served their apple pie with this topping. Here’s a snapshot4 Year old lattices a pie from the scrapbook: our 4-year old grandson putting the lattice on a treat just before going into the oven. It’s as easy as apple pie!

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